Winter is fast approaching, which means increased energy expenses to keep your warehouse warm and productive. While Southern California is not as effected by colder weather as our friends on the east coast, we will still be turning on the heat and anything we can do to minimize the impact of that on our bottom is helpful to a profitable 2018.
The following steps are five of our top recommendations for reducing energy consumption without turning down the thermostat.
Ensure Efficient Heat Generation Processes
Whatever thermal system you use, now is the time to make sure it is up to date with regular maintenance. Keeping your system in good operating order extends its life and ensures that it operates at optimal efficiency. Meanwhile, a poorly maintained system—particularly a gas-fired one—can pose a significant safety risk.
Another area of concern is the quantity, type, and location of your heating units. If you have made any changes to your warehouse configuration since your HVAC system was installed, now would be a good time for consultation. Technology advances quickly, and you want to be sure your HVAC system is up-to-date with current technology to ensure efficiency and effectiveness.
Maintain Proper Air Circulation
We all know that heat rises, and 20-degree temperature variances between the warehouse floor and the typical 40-foot ceiling are not uncommon. Circulating warmth to the floor can save hundreds—if not thousands—of dollars each month during the winter. The best means to accomplish this is through large industrial ceiling fans.
Determining what size, how many, and where to install industrial ceiling fans is our specialty. Fans can save up to 30 percent of your heating costs and deliver positive ROI in less than two years in many applications. Contact us for more information on fans and how many you might need to improve your energy circulation.
Retain as Much Heat as Possible
If you operate a warehouse, you have doors—very large doors. Although it is impossible to eliminate heat exchanges with cold outdoor air, you can take specific steps to significantly reduce it. These steps are more cost-effective than you probably expect.
Insulated dock panel doors can help retain warm air. However, depending on the number of dock positions, investment in them can be prohibitively costly. Instead, consider an insulation kit for each door. Insulation kits are less expensive, provide an R-Value of 6.81, and are easy to install.
Gaps around your dock doors can also cause significant heat loss. Inspect the top, bottom, and both sides of each door. If you see daylight, you are losing energy. Weather stripping kits are available to fill these gaps. The kits include weather stripping for the perimeter of the door as well as a 5-inch double-loop bottom rubber astragal to ensure that doors close tightly at the bottom. In addition to preserving heat, the seals keep bugs and other debris outside your warehouse facility. Caulking and sealants available at your local DIY big box store can help improve retention of heat dramatically over the winter.
Dock seals or shelters are imperative for preventing tremendous heat loss during trailer loading and unloading. If you are running a high-traffic operation without seals or even with worn seals, tens of thousands of expensive BTUs can blow out the door each winter day. If your seals or shelters are in good condition, be sure each tractor trailer is backed up tight against them before the dock doors are opened. Many types of dock seals and shelters are available. We can help you choose the right ones for your doors and budget.
One final area we recommend assessing is your dock leveler. If you use pit-mounted levelers, it makes sense to ensure that the side and rear seals are in good condition. Worn seals on your dock leveler result in air infiltration. We can inspect your levelers and seals, and service or replace any that are worn
Install Windows and/or Skylights
Although it is not always practical depending on the construction of your warehouse (or if you own or lease it), we certainly recommend investigating ways to improve the natural light and heat generated by the sun! Strategically placed windows or skylights can dramatically reduce your warehouse energy costs during the winter not only by using the sun’s energy for heat, but also by improving the natural lighting in your warehouse. This reduces your reliance on lighting fixtures and further reduces your energy costs. Using retractable blinds allows you to close the windows during the summer months, which reduces heat generation when it is not required.
And if you facility has windows, consider replacing them with energy efficient windows that can provide better heat retention and help keep the cold air out. If your windows are more than 10 years old, chances are you can improve energy consumption with new, more efficient windows.
Use Air Curtains or High-Speed Doors to Segment Your Warehouse Energy Needs
Some areas of your warehouse may not be used by employees often, who do most of their work in other areas of your warehouse. These low-use areas can be kept much cooler than the areas that employees use most. Air curtains and high-speed doors are excellent ways to keep the two areas temperature controlled while dramatically decreasing your energy consumption.
Winter can be an expensive time for warehouse operators, but the right steps taken the right way can significantly reduce the negative impact to your bottom line. We can help you find the right products to ensure you’re maximizing the use of energy in your facility during the colder winter months. Contact us at 800-322-5438 to speak to one of our representatives.